10 billboard companies get summons from MMDA

    PHILIPPINES – JUNE 2011 – 10 companies are due to be charged by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for having billboards up without a permit. The action is part of their crackdown on billboards that violate building and safety codes. The campaign, called "Operation Rolldown, Baby" has been in effect since the start of May. MMDA claims that giant billboards pose a road hazard. 
    After a close inspection of 2000 billboards around the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), Pasay, and Makati City area, 50 billboards were initially found to be in violation or unregistered. 19 billboards have already been removed from EDSA, including three right across MMDA headquarters. The charges against the 10 delinquent companies were filed before the office of Makati Prosecutor Alex Bagaoisan.
    “Our inspection teams composed of men from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), MMDA and local government units discovered that most of the billboards have no permit, and violated safety requirements,” MMDA Chairman, Francis Tolentino tells Journal.com.ph
    If any safety or violations were found in billboards, companies were first served a warning from the MMDA via OAAP, and had 15 days to settle the matter. Billboards will be taken down but the frame holding the ad would be left standing. Should the firm fail to do so in that required time, the frame will also be taken down. This is confirmed by a memorandum between MMDA and OAAP, which includes regulatory measures to roll ads up in the event of storm signal warnings.
    Contrary to MMDA’s allegations, Manila Bulletin reported that research from the Philippine Center for Out-of-Home Media Research and Science (PhilCourse) finds that billboards are more looked at by commuters, rather than motorists. Their findings challenge MMDA’s insistence that the billboards are distracting to traffic. "There’s no proof that drivers get into accidents because of billboards," says PhilCourse executive director, Lloyd Tronco.
    Image licensed CC BY-NC-ND Michael Agustin via Flickr